Graduating seniors face bleak economic prospects
I want to join you in congratulating the graduating class of 2011. I am moved by their front-page photo, purple and gold mortarboards sailing into the air, and I share in their hope for a brighter future for us all.
      Meanwhile, your editorial about their economic prospects is sobering. According to a New York Times article of May 18, the outlook for college graduates at this time is making prospects for high school graduates bleaker than ever. The Times analyzed Labor Department data for college graduates aged 25 to 34, and found that among those who had been able to find work at all, the numbers employed in food service, restaurants, and bars had risen 17 percent in the recent year, with even more college graduates working at gas stations and fuel dealers, food and alcohol stores, and taxi and limousine services.
     Meanwhile, these young people have a student loan debt at a median of $20,000 to pay off.
It is shameful that this is happening in our great land. It is no wonder that many high school graduates, in desperation, are choosing service in the military. In a recent commentary, “Not Good Enough for America”, Aesthetic Realism chairman of education Ellen Reiss writes: “These (current college) graduates have the most up-to-date training, and yet there isn’t work for them in our rich and beautiful America. Why? Because, in a profit system economy, you can work only if somebody can make personal profit for himself from your labor. And that has become less and less feasible.” As a recent retiree, if my pension and Social Security could no longer sustain me, I would have to compete in the same declining job market. Our profit-based economy is no longer working, and there is a beautiful and logical alternative: good will. To learn more, go to
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The only answer to the current power crisis
Thank you for your front-page story August 19 on the failure of our government to act in the energy crisis. It is infuriating that the Presidential candidates are not debating this issue. The jam-up of legislation in Congress is a national shame. Should the nation’s for-profit power companies continue to control the energy supply for millions of working people? To this question, last year’s disastrous blackout answered a resounding NO!
      On the south shore of Long Island, where I grew up, the blackout following the hurricane of 1938 showed us there is something large in the world to respect.
The good sense of local residents as they prepare for current hurricane season is absent at the highest levels of our country. The deregulation of the energy market began in the 1970s and intensified in the 1990s. Power transmission in our country is in the hands of over 3000 separate utilities, and they make profits for their stockholders by generating power, not transmitting it. The power grid is falling into disrepair, and there is no central regulatory authority. Millions of Americans are at risk of another blackout at any time. Why? To keep money in the pockets of wealthy stockholders who have not worked for it.
      The energy companies want to pass the cost of upgrading the infrastructure on to consumers. This is wrong. In his great 1970 lecture, “What Is Working Now?” the American philosopher and social scientist Eli Siegel said: “Th(e) sense of justice, which is a name for good will, is tremendously powerful. …It is concealed by selfishness, it is concealed by private interests, it is concealed by all kinds of confusion; but it is there. And it is saying more strongly than ever: Man should not make money from man! “That was justice five thousand years ago, but it didn’t have a chance to show its power until now. …Ethics is a force like electricity, steam, the atom—and will have its way.”
      Through studying Aesthetic Realism, the education that Eli Siegel founded, I met a definition of good will that changed my life: “the desire to make another thing stronger and more beautiful, because that desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful.” Good will is needed on a national level now. It can make our leaders, and every person, stronger and more respectful of what the American earth and all people deserve. To find out more, go to
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Tough choices for a school district

It is heartbreaking to read of the Islip Senior Center’s eviction from its current building. I understand that economically troubled times are forcing the Sayville School District to do this. Some persons have been going to the current center for almost 20 years. Even if the town provides transportation for everyone to the new facility, seniors will suffer. It makes me think of what my own mother and many others had to endure when the Sayville Nursing Home closed its doors because the owner could no longer make a profit. Our economy isn’t working, and I have learned the reason from Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy founded by the great American educator and historian Eli Siegel. A profit economy, in which some grow rich at the expense of others, is not efficient because it is based on the worst thing in the human self, contempt.
Mr. Siegel defined contempt as “the addition to self through the lessening of something else.” Under the current system, the bottom line dictates what all of us must do. Many older Americans must work past retirement age, and all of us worry about health care and the demise of the Social Security system.
     After World War II, I was attending Sayville Junior High School, and the district was pressed for space, as it is now. As we went to our classes in multiple buildings — in the Greene Avenue Elementary School, in “Old ‘88”, the former elementary school, and in a barracks on the back lot, we were proud to feel we were helping our country after a war in which fascism had been defeated. No one dreamed then that the school district would still be struggling to find space for its students in this, the richest country on earth, in the twenty-first century. School districts can be fair to all their residents only when these questions asked by Eli Siegel are answered honestly throughout this land: “To whom should the wealth of America belong? What does a person deserve by being alive?” Find out more about the justice older Americans and all people deserve at
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